Guidance to prevent human trafficking published

18 October 2018, 16:27

Humza Yousaf

The Scottish Government has published guidance for businesses aimed at helping them identify and prevent human trafficking and exploitation.

It calls on firms to carry out checks to ensure workers have access to their identification documents, and to provide employees with training to spot the signs of exploitation.

Under the Modern Slavery Act 2015, companies with a turnover of at least £36 million are legally required to publish an annual Slavery and Human Trafficking Statement.

However, research undertaken by the government shows a "significant minority" of businesses do not appear to have published statements.

Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf has also announced he will write to all major Scottish companies who appear not to have met their duty.

Speaking at an Anti-Slavery Day conference hosted by the Scottish Government and local government body Cosla, Mr Yousaf said: "Human trafficking and exploitation prey on the most vulnerable in society.

"Often hidden in plain sight and in legitimate businesses, these offences are on the increase worldwide.

"Since our Trafficking and Exploitation Strategy was published in 2017 we have made significant progress but businesses need to understand the risks and tackle the conditions that foster these crimes.

"With investors increasingly focusing on human trafficking as a business risk, this is one issue that boards simply cannot afford to ignore."

He added: "The guidance launched today offers practical advice for businesses of all sizes and I hope it will help more companies to identify and trafficking and exploitation across their operations, including in their supply chains.

"Our biggest firms must lead by example, ensuring they are not complicit in these horrendous crimes, and that is why I am writing to companies to demand urgent action."